A prose poem of Mary Oliver, passed along to us from movement elder Clancy Dunigan.
We will be known as a culture that feared death and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity for the few and cared little for the penury of the many. We will be known as a culture that taught and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke little if at all about the quality of life for people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a commodity. And they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was, and they will say also that our politics was no more than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of the heart, and that the heart, in those days, was small, and hard, and full of meanness
In January, over twenty women gathered for a Word and World weekend of rest and writing using winter as their guide and teacher. This is the last reflection offered which also gives some writing prompts. May it be company in these longer winter days.
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
As we begin this final morning together, I am holding all that we have carried and shared with one another. I am so grateful.
These words come to mind from Arundhati Roy who is an Indian author and activist.
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
By Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 to January 17, 2019)
Sweet Jesus, talking
his melancholy madness,
stood up in the boat
and the sea lay down,
silky and sorry.
So everybody was saved
But you know how it is
the threshold — the uncles
mutter together, Continue reading “Maybe”
Sermon 1/20/2019 at Day House Catholic Worker
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Isaiah begins “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.”
I believe in refusing to be silent. But I also believe in silence and quiet. I believe that we need to still ourselves long enough to hear those words when we are each called “my delight” and listen for “our new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.” God calls us by name, but it is so easy to miss when we aren’t paying attention.
It is not easy in our culture to find total silence or to stay in one place long enough to see what is right in front of us.
This week I am thinking a lot about Mary Oliver who died on Thursday. She is a poet who always had the gift of helping me to be quiet and altered my way of seeing the simplicity of life around me.
I have found myself struck with gratitude and grief realizing that there was something steadying to know that Mary Oliver was out in the woods somewhere paying attention to the beetles and the dew drops. So, my reflections tonight are filled with words from Mary Oliver tonight. Continue reading “Sermon 2- Poets and Prophets of Silence and Speech”
Invitation, By Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles Continue reading “Mary Oliver dies today. Presente!”
This piece was developed during the third Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO) Study Cohort 2017-2018. These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection. For more information regarding the BIO Study Cohort go here.
By Kristen Snow
Mary Oliver spends her life offering her view of the world as a gift to anyone, and everyone. She has lived a poor and simple life, not seeing the interest in wealth or possessions, but finding her sustenance in the fruits of the ocean and the earth. Her spirituality and belief in the Creator is deep and wide. She is not framed in the specificities of theology or religion, choosing to see the reality of God in the natural world and through the words of Rumi, a similarly gifted seer. Her poems have reached millions. Continue reading “A Reflection on Mary Oliver”
I slept late yesterday morning. By the time I had emerged from the trees on my walk, the pasture was already blanketed in a sultry haze. My mind was preoccupied with an upcoming trip and the pile of tasks I need to accomplish before I can leave for a week. I plodded along, barely noticing what was around me.
I felt a tiny prick above my right ankle and reached down reflexively to brush away a mosquito. This was some mosquito—huge and bright green, with a triangular face. When I tried to pry the odd creature away from my sock, it dug in the sharp spines on its forelegs and clung more fiercely. I was afraid it would leave behind a leg or two if I persisted, so I sat down in the grass and stared for a while at its curious face. Continue reading “Visit from a Prophet”
Isaiah 55:10-11, Psalm 65,
Romans 8:18-23, Matthew 13: 1-9
This week I noticed some large scratchy leafed plant pop up on our driveway. It winded its way out of a narrow patch of dirt between a rotting log and the spot where we prop our gate open when we are driving in and out. It has unmistakable orange flowers, each day it is multiplying in size. The seed must have planted itself in the small bit of soil after rotting there from neglect after celebrating the season when the veil is thin. It has always been my dream to have a huge pumpkin patch. So, for now, I am cherishing this unexpected gift. I have dragged more logs over to protect it and will give it whatever space it needs. I can’t open our gate all the way and I drive into the driveway in the most peculiar way. It feels like a little miracle that I get to tend and delight in each day. Continue reading “Sermon: Creations Groans: In the snow, the seeds, and our breath”